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'You will defeat the virus!': Jeff Koons sends video message to Italy

In his contribution to Palazzo Strozzi's digital project In Touch, the artist says Italian museums will "give humankind a light" to help find its way after coronavirus

Jeff Koons has sent a video message of support to Italy, which has been devastated in recent weeks by the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. The artist described the country as having "tremendous strength" and thanked Italy for its contribution to culture. He added that he believes "Italian institutions will also be able to give humankind a light, a direction in which we’ll be able to find our way in the future".

The video was posted as part of the Palazzo Strozzi's new digital project In Touch, which is offering additional online content for users while the Florence museum is closed due to the pandemic. Koons, the world's most expensive living artist, is currently scheduled to have a solo exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi this autumn with loans from international collections and museums. If it goes ahead, Jeff Koons: Shine (18 September 2020-24 January 2021) is set to be the largest show of his work ever hosted in Italy.

"Koons regards 'shine' as a key feature of his artwork," according to the museum's press release. "From the Post-Modern reinvention of the ready-made to works in perfectly polished metal that appear like inflatable toys".

Here is the full transcript from the Palazzo Strozzi's video:

I know that Italy is going through a lot right now and you have tremendous strength and you’re able to face the coronavirus and eventually will be able to defeat the virus. Italy is such an amazing country and as people you’ve gone through so much and you will defeat the virus. Culturally, the whole world is so appreciative of everything that you have given to us. And in the future, Palazzo Strozzi and all the other wonderful Italian institutions will also be able to give humankind a light, a direction in which we’ll be able to find our way in the future.

So, we thank you Italy for all your cultural contributions. Palazzo Strozzi, thank you. I look forward so much to the future of your museum. Italy you can do this!

You can watch Ai Weiwei's video here and Marina Abramovic's here.